Have Christian bloggers lost the plot?

by Richard on February 22, 2006

…asks Christian blogger Ales Rarus

If I had to summarize in one sentence the main reason I blog and how I choose what to blog about, I’d say that I’d like to help people stop begging questions, talking past one another, and calling each other silly and rude names, and start thinking critically, listening to one another, and treating each other with, at minimum, the same love they’d ask for themselves. That, of course, is easier said than done. Popular legend has it that G.K. Chesterton, among other eminent authors of his time, was asked by a newspaper to write an essay on the theme “What’s Wrong with the World?” His reply? “I am.” When it comes to the kind of acerbic and caustic blogging that I believe is poisoning the Body of Christ, and the rest of the world for that matter, I too am guilty.

{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1

Beth 02.22.06 at 6:39 pm

Oh, please! I know you’re all going to be angry with me for saying this (or worse, you’ll be nice and forgive me), but even in the best-conducted debate, there come times when one needs to tell one’s correspondent exactly where to get off. And I’m sorry if I can’t do that by telling them I forgive them, but I don’t expect to be treated with kid gloves if I say stupid, irrational or offensive things and I don’t believe that anyone else deserves that treatment either.

2

Funky Dung 02.22.06 at 6:47 pm

There is a difference between being direct and being disparaging.

3

Beth 02.22.06 at 7:05 pm

I agree. But sometimes, if a person says things that are, say, racist or sexist, I don’t believe in pussyfooting around using those terms out of a misguided sense of niceness. It does no-one any good.

4

Funky Dung 02.22.06 at 7:31 pm

I don’t think I advocated pussyfooting. I think extreme responses are far less frequently called for than most bloggers demonstrate. It should a regretable situation if we have to be brutal in our honesty. By all means, correct someone if you believe they are wrong. Just don’t resort to snarkiness or ad hominem attacks. Also, if you must be forceful in your rebuke, confront the person privately first, as per Christ’s instructions.

5

J 02.22.06 at 7:32 pm

“I’d like to help people stop begging questions, talking past one another, and calling each other silly and rude names ”

I thought that was the point of blogging.

6

dh 02.22.06 at 7:45 pm

J, I think those who use the term “discussion” in the back of their mind include the unmentionable “begging questions, talking past one another, and calling each other silly and rude names” and if it is not those things you might be censored like some sites for having particular views. The same people who censor are the ones who say “we are hear to promote discussion”. I’m so glad for Richard and Kim with regard to this issue.

Beth, how do we determine sexism and rascism. These terms get thrown around but many people I know are wrongly accused and others who are should be accused. People forget it can happen in the reverse. (I’m neither sexist or rascist it is just we need to make sure beyond a reasonable doubt when it comes to these accusations). Funky Dung has some good insights into how Biblically to handle these issues.

7

Funky Dung 02.22.06 at 7:57 pm

Thanks, dh. :) Since dh mentions censorship, I’ll mention that I don’t censor. I’ve also never banned anyone. The most I’d consider censoring is foul language. Even then, I wouldn’t delete the comment but clean it up.

8

Beth 02.22.06 at 10:13 pm

Y’see, FD, I think that to censor “foul language” is to look in entirely the wrong direction. So what does it matter if I happen to say f*ck or c*nt on here? Anyone who’s shocked by such words is shocked for effect, not because they refer to anything particularly offensive. And yet you consider these words dangerous enough to need censoring. In my view, these are no danger at all, especially not in the light of other words which claim that Jesus might have supported war, or that homosexuals are to blame for AIDS.

As for confronting someone privately, well, if I find what someone has said on a blog to be offensive then I will tell them on the blog, for two reasons: a) because I generally have no wish (or means) to have a personal conversation with them, and b) because such attitudes should, in my view, be challenged in order that other readers will not take them as being generally accepted by Christians, or bloggers, or any other group to which I belong.

9

dh 02.22.06 at 10:58 pm

I think Funky Dung’s idea of “cleaning up the comments is appropriate. Sorry, Beth they are offensive in that they are cursing. The Bible mentions that. Refer to Romans 8. Also, the fact you want to continue to use curse words for effect and not in others (in the case of rascist words or other words that are offensive to gays) shows a double standard. I personally feel no for effect words that are curse words should be used period. The soul is the most important. “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” (this passage does not mean that using curse words send one to hell but that the soul is the most important in relation to the body). If someone used an inappropriate term for homosexual behavior or for African Americans would you support the same thing as we do regarding curse words in addition to the other inappropriate terms?

No one has said God supported war or that homosexuals are to blame for AIDS. With regard to Jesus and war I look at what the entire Bible says about the subject and on homosexuality it puts one at a greater risk of AIDS. These aren’t dangerous things but are the facts.

Your final paragraph I agree and that is why I respond the way I do as well. although part a is not one I support for I care about all people and wish no one to be deceived. (This is evident with conversations on this blog with Richard and Kim, we disagree but we look for areas where we agree and acknowledge where we disagree so that we can move even closer to agreement than otherwise).

10

dh 02.22.06 at 11:05 pm

Romans 8 is mentions “meat sacrificed to idols” as analogous to what we are talking about.

11

J 02.23.06 at 4:20 am

I was just kidding in my first comment - perhaps I should work on the emoticons. But talking past each other is a problem that will never go away, sometimes because of animosity but sometimes because people have such differing experiences or worldviews that understanding what’s going on is quite difficult, or just requires more effort that we’re willing to expend while surfing the web. I can post the email discussion I’ve had with Microsoft Tech Support this week to prove it…

Begging the question is a risk we all run when we venture outside areas we have some expertise or depth of kowledge in. That’s where FD’s correction comes in without, as he says, ad hominem attacks an such. And FD, it’s your website - you can censor whatever you want.

Beth, re the first paragraph of your 10:13 comment, are you saying you’re opposed to censoring words, but OK with censoring ideas? Or just (I hope) saying you can’t have it both ways?

12

Beth 02.23.06 at 10:35 am

J - well, yes, “you can’t have it both ways” is a small part of what I was saying. But more than that, too.

Let me try to explain: so called “dirty words” are really not offensive per se. They are offensive if used violently or aggressively, but then so are many other words.

Certain ideas, in contrast, are offensive in and of themselves, for example the insistence on homosexuals being at greater risk of AIDS when facts and statistics show otherwise, and the use of this to categorise homosexuality as a “risky” behaviour which needs to be reversed, when in fact it is nothing of the sort and when this does not even apply to homosexual women. That kind of fuzzy thinking based on prejudice is dangerous, with a danger to which mere words such as “bugger” or “shit” can never hope to attain.

13

dh 02.23.06 at 2:45 pm

Who are you to say to me what is offensive when “dirty words” are offenseive to me? How can you say it isn’t risky in light of the facts of HIV and/or AIDS. I should of added HIV with the AIDS and I appologize. Sorry I believe the CDC on this one not some biased info when it comes to this.

14

Richard B. 02.23.06 at 3:40 pm

“Though I may speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, if I do not have love, I am a noisy gong, or a clanging cymbal…”

Any speech can be offensive… and, yet, even words that tend to offend can be spoken in love.

The place of challenge for me is - am I speaking in love?

Love isn’t always “nice”. Love is sometimes quite blatent - in-one’s-face.

But - when someone speaks to me out of love - even when they are saying things that hurt - I am much more ready to listen and learn… and modify my worldview and behaviour.

dh - something to ponder - while it is true that the CDC has reported a higher incidence of HIV/AIDS in the male homosexual population in the United States, WHO (the World Health Orgaization) reports a different reality worldwide. HIV/AIDS is a disease that passes from one person to another through transimission of bodily fluids. It really doesn’t matter if its same-sex or opposite-sex sharing. By the way… chatting with the teens in my community, it tends to be the gay and lesbian ones who are thinking about what they’re doing and being far more precautionary than many of the straight teens. (If you’d like to check out WHO’s info… you might want to start at http://www.wpro.who.int/health_topics/hiv_infections/data.htm)

Question for anybody… is it possible to be offensive to someone who is unwilling to take offense?

Blessings and peace - Richard B.

15

Beth 02.23.06 at 3:46 pm

Poor you - did the mean nasty words shock you? How awful.

CDC states not a single case of a woman contracting HIV from homosexual sex. So lesbians must be particularly blessed by God, then? CDC also shows that African Americans, who make up approx. 12% of the US population, accounted for 50% of HIV cases in 2003. So maybe the KKK are right about them after all, d’ya think?

The statistics, furthermore, can be misleading. For example, consider this from avert.org:

“Just under half of all people diagnosed with AIDS were probably infected with HIV through male-to-male sexual contact, while people exposed through heterosexual contact comprise around 17% of the total. However, since the beginning of the epidemic, the number of heterosexual infections has increased dramatically. According to CDC estimates, heterosexual contact led to about one third of new AIDS diagnoses and one third of new HIV diagnoses in 2004.”

Look also at this: consider that before 1989, there were still significant levels of HIV transmitted by heterosexual sex and drug injection. Gay men didn’t “cause” this epidemic, although they were particularly hard hit by it. And look at the dramatic drop in HIV infection via male-to-male sex after that first period, and the fact that infection rates have remained steady since, compared to the continual rise in infection via heterosexual contact.

16

Beth 02.23.06 at 3:50 pm

Richard B - speaking in love is a luxury that only the powerful can afford. Those of us who speak with the tongues, not of men and of angels, but of the disempowered and the rejected, may have little love for the people who do us spiritual and emotional violence. Can we be blamed for that?

17

Richard B. 02.23.06 at 4:10 pm

No, Beth… you (plural) can’t be blamed for that.

When those of us who hold worldly power (and I speak as one - white, middle-class North American, straight, male, able-bodied, “professional”, Christian…) forget that our privilidge is founded, built and maintained on the backs of the disempowered and the rejected…

when we forget that our privilege should call us to be camels that walk through the eye of the needle… and forget to use the power that is ours to support the voiceless as they build their voice - and regain their birthright as children of God -

then… yeah… we should be taken down from our high places as quickly and cleanly as possible.

Because it is a luxury that I can afford - I will continue to speak in love… with the hope and prayer that the love - whether in support or in challenge… will make a difference.

Thank you for making me think about this one, Beth.

Blessings and peace - Richard B.

18

Kim 02.23.06 at 5:44 pm

In the Institutes 3.19.11, Calvin has some sage observations “On Offenses”. He finds helpful “that common distinction between an offense given and one received,” and then (with Romans 14-15 in mind) he says:

“An offense is spoken of as received when something, otherwise not wickedly or unseasonably committed, is by ill will or malicious intent of mind wrenched into occasion for offense. Here is no ‘given’ offense, but those wicked interpreters baselessly so understand it. None but the weak is made to stumble by the first kind of offense, but the second gives offense to persons of bitter disposition and pharisaical pride. Accordingly, we shall call the one the offense of the weak, the other that of the Pharisees. Thus we shall so temper the use of our freedom as to allow for the ignorance of our weak brothers, but for the rigors of the Pharisees, not at all!”

19

Beth 02.23.06 at 6:09 pm

And thank you, Richard, for making me feel a whole lot less bitter and pissy at one stroke.

B

20

dh 02.23.06 at 7:58 pm

Beth you picked and choosed your facts and neglected the ones I brought up. I’m not saying this to attack but for us to understand the greater risk s compared to those who are monogomous and aren’t homosexual. I faul anyone who has sex outside of marriage, bisexuals who in the CDC are considered the “bridge”.

The whole AIDS/HIV thing points to personal responsibility with regard to all sins sexually. Do those who focus on homosexual too much neglect the other sexual sins? absolutely and the facts you and I are looking at point to those problems. Why can’t we work together to help people not to have sex outside marriage, homosexuals to be celibate and to not commit adultry. God can helps us in the Body of Christ in all three of these areas.

21

Beth 02.23.06 at 8:07 pm

Deal with the lesbians, dh. Why are the lesbians at such low risk if AIDS is some kind of judgement, or punishment, or sign that homosexuality is unnatural?

I dealt with your facts, as did Richard, by showing that a) they apply only to the United States, while figures for other parts of the world tell a different story and b) that even the statistics for America show that the rise in HIV now is greater for heterosexuals than for homosexuals. So, there, I’ve dealt with your statistics - now you deal with mine and tell me why homosexuals are to be judged for being more at risk, but Africans and African-Americans are not?

Finally, we can’t “work together” on this because we don’t agree, and because I believe your attitudes come from an underlying institutional and cultural homophobia which is endemic in the Church. I don’t believe God can “help” here because I don’t believe he wants to.

22

Richard B. 02.23.06 at 8:25 pm

dh -

As I read your 7:58 comment, I had the sense that you were equating “monogamy” with “heterosexuality” and… hmmm… well… “non-monogamy” with “homosexuality”. Feel free to correct me if I’ve mis-read you on this one.

You are right to say that individuals in a monogamous relationship (especially those who have not engaged in sharing of needles or sexual activity prior to that monogamous relationship) are in a lower risk category than those who have multiple sexual partners.

But that goes for same-sex relationships as well as opposite-sex relationships.

Sooo… would you be willing to help people - of whatever sexual orientation and practice - to enter into and maintain covenanted monogamous relationships?

Just wondering.

b/p - Richard B.

23

dh 02.23.06 at 9:44 pm

I was trying to say that if a person is homosexual they should be celibate in that the act of homosexual as compared to the temptation is the issue. So monogomous refers only to heterosexuality and within marriage but homosexuality is a temptation that shouldn’t be acted apon. So I’m willing to help people who are heterosexual to enter into and maintain, within the marriage covenent, monogomous relationships and to help homosexual people to obstain altogether and have the Holy Spirit to help them to change away from the lifestyle as well. This issue goes beyond just the risks. So from the Bible I see problems with non-monogamous sexual activity outside of marriage for heterosexuals and all forms of homosexual ACTIVITY as well as bisexual activity.

Beth, why would God not want them to change in light of Romans 1, Romans 6 and other passages that address the activity as sin? Even Jesus told the adulterer to “go and sin no more” so you can see I’m not focusing on just homosexuality but all forms of sexual sin. Whose is to say that future unknown viruses will arise among differing groups? (I don’t wish that but just because it seems one group “is spared” doesn’t make the activity correct in fact many under CDC who are lesbians are considered the “bridge” so you may want to look at those facts that were overlooked as well. Remember it is HIV and/or AIDS not one or the other for me to be looked at correctly, that is the context of the entire responses on this post.)

24

Funky Dung 02.23.06 at 10:15 pm

Wow, I left this post alone for a day and all hell broke loose. ;)

I have absolutely no interest in stepping to the homosexuality/AIDS thread. Yikes!

“So what does it matter if I happen to say f*ck or c*nt on here?

Pardon me for wanting a relatively kid-friendly blog. I try to keep things PG. That’s not because I’m offended by curse words per se. It’s because a lot of parents would like to keep their kids away from profanity and I choose to respect their wishes on the off chance that any kids are reading my blog.

25

Richard 02.23.06 at 10:28 pm

ditto what FD said!

Except the bit about kids. I’m sure my blog would bore kids to tears long before they got to any stray rude words. I’m not against the occasional use of an ‘anglo-saxonism’ as such, but most of the time I reckon they’d be out of place. Depends who uses ‘em, and why I suppose. No hard and fast rules.

This conversation demonstrates why I like blogging so much. Thanks to all those taking part - don’t let me interupt.

26

Pieter Friedrich 02.23.06 at 11:01 pm

“Why are the lesbians at such low risk if AIDS is some kind of judgement, or punishment, or sign that homosexuality is unnatural?”

To say what DH isn’t saying, perhaps because he hasn’t thought of it, maybe it’s because God considers male homosexuality to be that much worse than female homosexuality.

27

Beth 02.24.06 at 9:54 am

dh - show me where it says that lesbians are “the bridge” for HIV? Because it doesn’t seem very likely to me that a group of people who have a very low risk of contracting HIV or of passing it on (a lot harder for women than for men to infect others) can fulfil this role.

You are seriously arguing, aren’t you, that gay people are being punished by AIDS? I mean, let’s get this clear please.

Pieter - are you serious, or just filling in the gaps?

28

Beth 02.24.06 at 9:58 am

I wonder, would some kind theologian (Kim? Richard?) please tell us the theological reasons why homophobia is wrong, and explain to us how it is possible to accept homosexuality as a Christian? Because I don’t know enough to make those arguments, but I’m very well aware that they can be made and, frankly, also because I think it’s your duty to support those who are being silenced by this discourse of sin and disgust.

Cheers!

29

dh 02.24.06 at 2:48 pm

I already posted it in another post with reference to the CDC. Again I don’t have homophobia I look at all sin equal. I’m glad in the past Kim and I (while we disagree) have an understanding and he can recognize the love and care I have for all including gays. We all sin but to say a certain action is okay I just don’t see in Scripture in light of Romans 1, Romans 6, Sodom and Gomorrah and the actions of the people during that time, etc. I’m not judging but when I read these scriptures and what God says I can’t help but Believe what I do. This isn’t sin or disgust but what God says.

Beth, I’m sorry we got all sidetracked. I know we both don’t agree but at least we can respect each other. I hope you can see the good and not all of the bad. I can give you story after story of people who are free, and not bound who were gay and have successful families. If I took you view and attitude it would show a disregard for what God has done in those peoples lives. I don’t want to show that type of disregard.

30

Richard B. 02.24.06 at 3:58 pm

dh… I can give you story after story of people who are free, who understand that they are loved by God for who they were created to be - including their sexuality - and have successful families. If I took your view and attitude it would show a disregard for what God has done in these people’s lives.

I don’t want to show that type of disregard.

(I’d invite you to examine how you feel after reading those words… because most of them are yours, dh.)

—-

What we have here is a “rock” and a “hard place”. We could quote scripture at each other. We could debate authority and interpretation. We could argue secular law and church teaching.

And it wouldn’t make one iota of difference.

I wouldn’t be able to convince you.
You wouldn’t be able to convince me.

dh - the questions that I ask you to consider are the same ones I ask myself - “What action does your belief call you to… and how do those actions live out Jesus’ responses to the question, ‘Teacher, what commandment in the law is the greatest?’”

Blessings and peace - Richard

31

Beth 02.24.06 at 4:07 pm

Yeah, you posted it dh, and you didn’t give a proper reference for it that time either. Show me precisely where the CDC says that, not where you say it.

I’m glad that you and Kim have an understanding. That’s very sweet. I’d still like to hear what he has to say about your attitude towards homosexuality. And towards AIDS, for that matter.

And no, I can’t respect you.

32

dh 02.24.06 at 5:02 pm

Most of them are not but are God’s. I see so much disregard from the other side of those who have changed and are either permenantly celibate or have changed their lifestyle and have successful families. The question we ust ask ourselves is how we all can be healed from sin and how to “go and sin no more” like the woman caught in adultery. The question works for anything that we should do for Christ or refrain from for Christ or else Jesus wouldn’t have said “go and sin no more” at the same tme He had compassion on the woman and saw the womans change in heart or desire to change her heart.

Richard, I just don’t believe they “were created” with that sexuality. There may be some engrained temptations but that is different. I have compassion toward those with those temptations and Kim understands that God CAN help people away from the behavior (even though we disagree).

We need to show compassion rather than look at them as an outlier those who are homosexual who are commited to celibacy or who have successful heterosexual families.

33

Beth 02.24.06 at 7:28 pm

dh - Kim is one of my dearest friends, and I think I can claim to know him rather better than you. The insinuation you make in your post that Kim believes God can “help” people “away from” homosexuality does not accord with what I know of him. Unlike you, I will not put words in his mouth. I just hope he has the time to write a post putting you straight. No pun intended.

As for “disregard” of gay “conversions”, I assure you I for one do not disregard them. They are far too dangerous for any such reaction to be possible. Consider the American Psychiatric Association’s position statement on “reparative therapy”, and the APA’s FAQ. These are both qualified and respectable associations of professionals which have no bias for or against homosexuality. I am inclined to accept their position on this matter rather than that of homophobic religious groups with a vested interest in reporting only the success of their unethical “conversion” therapies.

And where, oh where, is your reference for the CDC’s view that lesbians are a “bridge” for HIV transmission?

Oh, and for anyone who wants a good laugh, PFOXS is a scream!

34

dh 02.24.06 at 8:14 pm

It appears you do for I know many who have been susseful in “turning away” for you to discredit it as “being dangerous” when many have been straight for decades really shows a disregard for that particualr group. On this: “…no bias for or against homosexuality.” How do you know?

I think you need to give me some credit in that true homophobic people are ones who say there is no hope. I for one say there is. Don’t categorize me as such when you should know that I love and care for the gay community.

As for Kim, he may disagree with me but he seems to respect what I say or at least shows that in his statements. I know he doesn’t believe like I do or believes in “gays turning back” but he seems to at least respect it. If I gave you a different idea of my observation of Kim I appologize. I was just pointing out that we don’t have to be so negative or condescending in tone on this, nor have I but when people have changed and they get discredited it makes me sad. People shouldn’t feel like they have to stay in homosexuality. I have talked with some and they said “people think I can’t change”. A fellow co-worker who is gay once told me once “he would like to change but so many people think we can’t that I feel I have no hope to change.” Beth, what do you say to this person encourage him to stay in something he doesn’t want to continue in? Is that truly encouraging or truly binding? People should have the freedom if they want to change to change. To say God can’t change them or to believe science over God in the matters of personal change shows a god that I don’t prescribe to, one that is limiting and is not all powerful.

35

dh 02.24.06 at 8:16 pm

Beth, I consider it insulting to call the PFOXS site a scream and a laugh when people can change. Many have diffiiculties in that but it is not impossible like you prescribe. Your impossible part is truly a disservice to those who want to change but are bound by people who say they can’t.

36

Kim 02.24.06 at 8:16 pm

Yes, dh, I do not doubt your love of God and neighbour, but on the lesbian/gay issue, I’d see your position along the lines of Romans 10:2.
And the same goes for those involved in the ministry of “helping people away from their homosexuality” - except they can actually do a lot of damage.

37

Beth 02.24.06 at 8:34 pm

What do I say to that person? I say, “love yourself, love the image of God in you, and don’t listen to those who say you need to deny who you are in order to be happy and fulfilled.” I’m not surprised he tells you that he wants to change if you’re whispering your poisonous shit in his ear at every opportunity.

As for those who have “changed” - they are liars. I don’t despise them, I feel sorry for them; but I despise those who support them in their lies. The truth is what sets you free, not saying what is convenient.

The beliefs of people like you are dangerous, offensive and unchristian. It’s no surprise that the rate of suicide amongst gay people is so high - you’d better watch out for your co-worker…

And, just in case anyone missed it last time - this may be the funniest thing I’ve seen in years!

38

Kim 02.24.06 at 8:37 pm

Beth :) :) :)

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Beth 02.24.06 at 9:08 pm

Hey, Kim - you can do emoticons! I’m so proud. (I taught him all he knows, you know…)

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dh 02.24.06 at 9:21 pm

Beth, liars? That sure is judgemental. How can you say this? Kim, kowledge? how about that of Romans 1 or Romans 6? Beth, are you saying Paul was “unchirstian”? Beth, the co-worker thanked me. He told me I was a big encouragement to him. I said what I said in love and I didn’t initiate the conversation he did for he knew I was a Christian.

who are you to state what is truth to not be the truth? Do you know these people who have changed? Have you been in their lives? How can you be so harsh and call them liars when people have in fact been changed. I don’t call people liars unless you have proof. I don’t see any proof for you don’t know these people.

BTW, I didn’t initiate or speak to him at every opportunity. He spoke and I only responded when spoken to in this instance.

“The truth is what sets you free, not saying what is convenient.”
I agree that is why when the Bible mentions Romans 1 and Romans 6 I believe it. It isn’t myself saying this.

41

dh 02.24.06 at 9:25 pm

Where in the Bible does it say people are born homosexual in light of Romans 1 and the desire between man and woman in Genesis. I see nowhere where this site can be confirmed. In fact this confirms that homosexuality is a choice. Thanks for the site Beth it proves it with regard to homosexuality but not heterosexuality in light of Scripture.

42

Kim 02.24.06 at 9:48 pm

Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read’st black where I read white.
William Blake

43

Richard B. 02.24.06 at 11:40 pm

Amen, Kim… amen.

b/p - Richard B.

44

Richard B. 02.25.06 at 1:46 am

Beth wrote:
“I wonder, would some kind theologian (Kim? Richard?) please tell us the theological reasons why homophobia is wrong, and explain to us how it is possible to accept homosexuality as a Christian?”

Beth… I’m not a theologian - except in the practical sense as a parish minister. A few years ago, I wrote a paper for a course that explored some of the texts that seem to related to homosexuality… and a “position paper” that I was asked to write by a colleague of mine, taking a look at same-sex marriage.

I don’t know if they’ll be of any use to anybody… and I’m sure that what I’ve written will be ripped to shreds - but - hey! - have fun with it!

Blessings and peace - Richard B.

45

Beth 02.25.06 at 10:14 am

Thanks, RB. I’d not heard before of the argument about confusion of types in Leviticus. Could this be the basis for a slightly more radical reading… that, while the authors of Leviticus had no conception of homosexuality as an identity, they could only see it as a mixing of normative heterosexuality with something alien to it. But if we see homosexuality as a type of identity, then for the homosexual to have heterosexual sex is just as much of an abomination, as it mixes types as well… Just putting that in the mix here!

dh - where in the Bible does it say that evolution happens? Or that the sun is the centre of the universe? Or that illness is caused by germs and bacteria? The Bible tels us that hares chew the cud and that bats are birds. Sometimes, dare I say it, the Bible has to take a backseat to modern experience and scientific knowledge.

Kim - kudos for the Blakester. Good man!

46

Kim 02.25.06 at 5:14 pm

Beth is right on the money in (implicitly) raising two hermeneutical issues that dh does not address.

1. Levitical laws. What is their context and underlying principle and purpose? Are these still relevant today? Are the ancient and modern situations congruent enough for the rules still to apply? Certainly not when it comes to wearing mixed fibres or eating prawn curries! The point is that a rule that has lost the force of its justification can no longer be considered binding. The Bible itself teaches that the spirit trumps the letter every time! To carry on regardless with the refrain “The Bible says, the Bible says!” is to bring the Bible itself into disrepute by treating it as an ahistorical oracle.

2. Empirical observation. The Bible itself contains so-called Wisdom writings (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes) that appeal not to Covenant law but directly to creation - i.e. to nature and lived human experience - which, for us, will surely include to scientific observation. What does it have to tell us about homosexuality? Basically, that to be gay is to be gay - i.e., it is not a life-style option, an act of perverse heterosexual will, but a given The prevailing view of antiquity was that women are by nature intellectually inferior to men. That is the background to the Bible’s androcentric headship ethics. Modern science, however, conclusively demonstrates the falsity of such claims about the rational superiority of males. Only the worst kind of obscurantist would argue otherwise. To carry on regardless with the refrain “The Bible says, the Bible says!”, is again, to bring the Bible itself into disrepute by treating it as (a now oudated) scientific sourcebook.

Kierkegaard said that only “Stupid clergymen appeal quite directly to a Bible pasage directly understood.”

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